provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Shell enthusiasts from all over the United States will soon be coming to the Sanibel Shell Festival to be a part of the longest-running and most-prestigious competitive Shell Show in the country. This year, the 85th Sanibel Shell Festival will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 3-5 at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. The Sanibel Community Association hosts the activities on the festival grounds and the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club hosts the Sanibel Shell Show inside the Community House.
The Sanibel Shell Show has everything – science and beauty. Competitive scientific displays provide information about shells from around the world and the mollusks that create them. These exhibits may consist of a single shell or they may have multiple shells and be up to 40 feet in length. Each exhibit tells a story of its own.
The Artistic Division competition includes fascinating and exquisite works of art made from shells, such as floral bouquets, and the ever-popular Sailor’s Valentines are Shell Show favorites. The intricacy of these exhibits is incredible.
An “Author’s Table” will feature local authors who will be on hand throughout the festival for book signings and to talk about their books with visitors. Specimen shells, jewelry, shell related items and children’s books will also be for sale.
If you love shells, but don’t have the time to look for them on the beach, head for the big shell tent. There you will find, literally, thousands of shells for sale, and prices start at 25 cents. Large, impressive shells and fossils are also for sale.
Next door to the shell tent, the Sanibel Shell Crafters can be found selling shell jewelry, mirrors, flower arrangements and “shell critters.” The crafters meet every Monday at the Community House throughout the year to make the objects that are sold at the festival.
The “Live Tank” area is where the 6th graders of the Sanibel Elementary School shine. Prior to the Sanibel Shell Festival, the students study about shells and mollusks. If they pass the course test, students have the opportunity to share their knowledge with visitors while they view multiple aquariums containing live mollusks.
There is no entrance fee to the Shell Festival grounds, but a $5 donation is requested to attend the inside Shell Show. Safety protocols will be in place. Masks are strongly suggested on the festival grounds. All attendees must wear masks at all times inside the Shell Show.
The proceeds from activities on the festival grounds are used for maintenance of the Community House. The Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club awards grants from the proceeds of their annual show. Grants are given towards education and research in the fields of conchology and malacology, as well as for conservation and water quality projects, primarily in Southwest Florida.
For more information, contact the Sanibel Community House at 239-472-2155.